The Otterhound is a large, rough-coated hound with an imposing head showing great strength and dignity, and the strong body and long-striding action fit for a long day's work. It has an extremely sensitive nose and is inquisitive and perseverant in investigating scents
Despite the small numbers of breeding stock, Otterhounds suffer from relatively few hereditary diseases. Regular monitoring of the ears maintains good aural health and prevents ear lice
Two genetic conditions include hip and elbow dysplasia and epilepsy.
They are also playful clowns, friendly and affectionate with their families. This is an uncommon breed, with fewer than ten Otterhound litters born each year in the United States and Canada
The first recorded Otterhounds known to resemble the current breed are in the North-West of England in the first half of the 19th century – for example, the Hawkstone Otter Hunt and Squire Lomax's Otterhounds. In the second half of the 19th century, French Griffons were outcrossed, including one-eighth Wolf cross/Griffon Vendeen from the Comte de Canteleu in Normandy. In the early 20th century the Griffon Nivernais was crossed into the breed, and one particular dog, Boatman, a Grand Griffon Vendeen/Bloodhound cross, became an ancestor for several kennels.
There are an estimated 599 otterhounds in the world. It is considered to be the most endangered native breed in Britain, with only 41 new registrations in 2016. This is partly because otterhounds have never been numerous, and even in the early 20th century when otter hunting as a sport was at the height of its popularity, the number of dogs was still small. They are on the list of Vulnerable Native Breeds as identified by the UK Kennel Club, and great efforts are being made to save the breed
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